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Redeveloped Village Green will be an important community asset: administrator

Job creation and improved local access to LTC beds are among the community benefits the new 128-bed home will provide, says Linda Pierce

When the project to redevelop Village Green is completed, the state-of-the-art 128-bed long-term care home will not only enhance the living and working experience for residents and staff members, it will also be a major benefit to the community, says Linda Pierce.

Linda, Village Green’s administrator, says the redeveloped Village Green will create employment opportunities for Greater Napanee as well as ensure more people in the region requiring long-term care will be able to stay close to home.

Village Green employs about 85 people. Because the redeveloped home will be almost double in size – Village Green currently has 66 beds – about twice as many people will be needed to staff the new home.

Linda notes the region around Greater Napanee contains many small towns and villages where people have lived all their lives. A major benefit the additional 62 beds will bring to the region, she says, is that people living in these communities needing long-term care will have increased access to beds.

“That’s comforting for people to know; that you’re going to be where you grew up,” Linda tells The OMNIway, adding this is equally important to families.

“Being close to Mom and Dad is important (for families), and in our area, we are an aging population. … We have cared for our moms and our dads and our aunts and uncles … and that’s a great honour to be able to (continue to) do that.”

Village Green was approved for redevelopment by the province in November 2020. Construction on the new Village Green, which will be located at the northwest corner of Drive-In Road and Highway 41 in Greater Napanee, could start as early as autumn.

Once completed, the new Village Green will be a Class A long-term care home consisting of four spacious living areas that will each be home to 32 residents.

The redeveloped Village Green will also have modern amenities, such as wider hallways and more home-like dining areas, and privacy will be enhanced by limiting all rooms to no more than one or two beds.

Outside, the new Village Green will have scenic gardens and outdoor space as well as a “whole home” gathering area and chapel space.

“It’s going to be just absolutely stunning,” Linda says of the redeveloped Village Green. “It’s going to have quite a presence in our community.”

– This is Part 3 of a three-part story series

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Excitement building around plans for Village Green redevelopment

‘If I had to rate the excitement on a scale from one to 10, it would be 15,’ says administrator

Village Green is buzzing with excitement as residents and staff members await the start of construction to build a new 128-bed long-term care home to replace the existing 66-bed residence in Greater Napanee.

“If I had to rate the excitement on a scale from one to 10, it would be 15,” administrator Linda Pierce tells The OMNIway.

The design plans for the new Village Green were recently unveiled, and a site at the northwest corner of Drive-In Road and Highway 41 in Greater Napanee has been secured for the new home.

Construction could begin as early as autumn.

“As we start now to move along the path and really have a heightened awareness that this is actually going to happen, that we are closer to putting shovels in the ground, there’s a real flavour of excitement,” Linda says.

Once completed, the redeveloped Village Green will be a Class A long-term care home that will include four spacious neighbourhoods, with 32 residents living in each neighbourhood.

To enhance privacy, all rooms will have either one or two beds, and there will be a host of modern amenities, such as wider hallways and more home-like dining areas. Outside, the new Village Green will have scenic gardens and outdoor space as well as a “whole home” gathering area and chapel space.

“We are going from a 66-bed home to a 128-bed home, and the exciting thing for the residents is that they will no longer have to share a basic room with (as many as) three other residents,” Linda says.

“There’s going to be such an enhancement (in quality of life).”

The new Village Green, which has been designed by Toronto-based G Architects, has been planned “very, very well” with a strong focus on privacy, Linda adds.

Linda notes that residents have had input into the home’s design and that G Architects has included their input in the plans. Some of the features that have been important to residents include enhanced privacy, wider doors and more spacious bathrooms, Linda says.

Village Green opened in 1978 and the home has always been focused on providing a high quality of life for residents, Linda says, but a new home is needed to stay ahead of the curve and meet the needs of an ever-changing resident population.

“The residents love living here, but, let’s face it, it’s an almost 45-year-old home that was built all that time ago and the population has changed,” she says, adding everyone at the home is pleased with the province for approving the new build.

“We are thrilled.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above, an illustration created by G Architects of the front entrance of the new, 128-bed Village Green that has been approved for redevelopment.

Conversations with residents a highlight of student’s Village Green placement

‘They have years and years of experience and stories that they love to tell and love to talk about,’ says Griffin Newton

Griffin Newton says his favourite part of his two-month student placement at Village Green was the time he spent getting to know the Greater Napanee long-term care home’s residents.

Griffin, a Grade 13 student at Napanee District Secondary School, recently completed his co-op placement at Village Green. The experience has helped shape his career path, and he has applied to Loyalist College’s recreation and leisure program for the September intake.

As part of his placement, Griffin spent much of his time helping with activities and playing games or reading newspapers with residents.

It was through the time he spent with residents that Griffin says he learned a great deal about the people living at Village Green.

“They have years and years of experience and stories that they love to tell and love to talk about,” Griffin says.

“If you are a people person, they love to talk and they love to talk with you because their stories have been a big, monumental part of their lives and you have to be able to listen.”

One memorable moment for Griffin came when he was reading a newspaper with residents. Walter Gretzky, the father of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, had recently passed away and there was an article about the world’s most famous hockey dad.

It turned out one of the residents knew the elder Gretzky many years ago.

“When (the resident) knew him, he sold cheese back in the day, and the other residents didn’t know that, so that was one of the great stories I heard,” Griffin says.

Griffin, who has also been working as a front-door screener during the pandemic, says having these conversations gave him “a new perspective” on people living at Village Green. Hearing about their stories and experiences was a chance to get to know them on a different level.

“I also love working there and being down there and interacting with the residents and, right now, taking their mind off of everything, especially with COVID,” he says.

– This is Part 2 of a two-part story

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Village Green placement steers student towards LTC career

‘I did a two-month placement there and fell in love with it’

Griffin Newton was no stranger to Village Green when he started a two-month co-op placement at the Greater Napanee long-term care home earlier this year.

His mother, Tammy Newton, is Village Green’s clinical care co-ordinator, and Griffin has been familiar with the home from an early age.

So when it came time for Griffin, a Grade 13 student at Napanee District Secondary School, to do his co-op placement, his mother suggested he consider Village Green, where Griffin also works as a front-door screener.

Tammy saw in Griffin a key strength that’s valuable in long-term care work: his ability to connect with people.

“She came up with the idea of my going back and making a connection (at Village Green) because she said I was always good at interacting with other people and helping others, so why not try that out,” Griffin tells The OMNIway.

“I did a two-month placement there and fell in love with it.”

During his placement, Griffin spent much of his time working with the life enrichment department helping out with activities.

He enjoyed the experience so much he plans to make a career out of it.

Griffin, who will complete his high-school studies this year, has applied to the recreation and leisure program at Loyalist College for the September intake.

Graduates of this program often go on to work in life enrichment departments at long-term care and retirement homes.

One idea he came up with during his placement was to draw a cartoon animal on the whiteboard every morning as well as to write a pun.

“He did this every day because the residents liked the first one so much,” says Ulana Orrick, Village Green’s life enrichment co-ordinator, who adds Griffin is well suited for this line of work.

Griffin says doing his placement at Village Green wasn’t so much “work” as it was learning about the home’s residents.

“It wasn’t a job for me, it was getting a chance to hang around with a group of interesting people I had not met before,” he says.

– This is Part 1 of a two-part story

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Being proactive has kept Village Green safe during the pandemic: administrator

‘We have … made a strong commitment to try to keep (COVID-19) out,’ says Linda Pierce

Village Green administrator Linda Pierce describes the COVID-19 pandemic as a bit like fighting an “invisible enemy” that is “circling the sky” – but by being proactive from the beginning, the Greater Napanee long-term care home has been able to keep residents and staff members safe from the virus.

“We can’t see it, but it’s there, and we’re fighting to keep it out, and staff members are doing an amazing job to keep it out,” she tells The OMNIway.

“It involves every day, every moment, ensuring mask-wearing, ensuring hand hygiene, ensuring social distancing.”

Aside from everyone on the floor being vigilant about safety measures and infection prevention, Linda says there has been strong leadership from both Village Green director of care Debbie McTaggart as well as from OMNI Health Care’s clinical operations manager Susan Cymbaluk.

Strong leadership has resulted in strong compliance, Linda says, crediting everyone working at Village Green for doing their part to keep residents and themselves safe during the pandemic.

“We started wearing masks inside the home before we were told we had to – I have to give credit to Debbie and to Susan and to all of the team, but when you have the leads and the supports directing it, it moves it along a path of heightened awareness,” Linda says.

“We have, collectively in our discussions together, made a strong commitment to try to keep (COVID-19) out.”

Most of all, Linda says the Village Green team always keeps the pandemic top of mind and people do not let their guard down.

“It’s a worry every day, (but) we are standing guard and we are trying our very best to keep our residents and staff safe,” she says.

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Province approves Village Green rebuild that will add 62 beds

Once completed, the new Village Green will benefit residents, staff and the community, says administrator Linda Pierce

The Ontario government announced Nov. 20 that approval has been granted to build a new 128-bed Village Green in Greater Napanee, a move the home’s administrator, Linda Pierce, says will benefit residents, staff members and the community.

Once completed, the new Village Green will have an additional 62 beds, nearly twice as many as the current home, which has 66.

“We are really excited about it,” Pierce tells The OMNIway. “This is such a complement to everybody: the team, the community (and) the people we serve.”

While there is no confirmation on when construction on the new Village Green will start or be completed, Pierce says a tentative site for the home is being considered on the west side of Lennox and Addington County Road 41.

Once completed, the rebuilt Village Green will be a Class A long-term care home with modern amenities, such as wider hallways and more home-like dining areas, and privacy will be enhanced by limiting all rooms to no more than one or two beds.

Pierce says eliminating three- and four-bed wards is crucial to ensuring high quality of life for people living in long-term care homes because lack of privacy can agitate residents.

By limiting rooms to no more than two beds, Pierce says residents will have increased privacy and a more home-like living experience.

“From bathing to dining experiences, everything will be enhanced,” Pierce says.

“Everything, in my opinion, will be more favourable to resident care and to the quality of life of the resident and the quality of life of the worker.”

Pierce also says the redeveloped Village Green will be a community asset because the additional 62 beds will help minimize waiting times for people in the region requiring long-term care.

Village Green is the latest OMNI Health Care long-term care home to receive approval for redevelopment. In 2018, approval was granted to build a new 160-bed Riverview Manor in Peterborough. The province recently announced approval for an additional 32 beds to be added to Riverview Manor, bringing the total to 192 beds.

Pleasant Meadow Manor, Almonte Country Haven, Woodland Villa and Country Terrace received approvals in 2018 for redevelopment projects to expand those homes.

Construction has started on the expansions to Pleasant Meadow Manor, Almonte Country Haven and Woodland Villa.

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Village Green residents were missing Tim Hortons, so staff built a Tim Hortons at Village Green

The creative life enrichment team built a Tim’s drive-thru in the home’s garden. Residents loved it

Challenging times often call for creative measures, and Village Green life enrichment team members really came through for residents when they heard how much people living at the Greater Napanee long-term care home were missing outings to Tim Hortons.

Before short-stay visits for Ontario long-term-care home residents were reinstated in late August by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, residents expressed to life enrichment co-ordinator Ulana Orrick that they were missing trips to Tim Hortons.

Many residents had not had Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts since the global COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

So on Oct. 6, the life enrichment team set up a Tim Hortons drive-thru in the Village Green garden. Life enrichment aide Jess Boot, a new team member, designed a Tim Hortons storefront facade that was placed on the front of the gazebo.

The Tim Hortons store on Centre St. in Napanee donated coffee, doughnuts and Tim Hortons staff shirts for the life enrichment team to wear.

The nursing team then assisted residents outside to the garden where they queued on the walking path as they would at a Tim Hortons drive-thru.

The residents loved it, Ulana says.

“We had music playing and lots of fun was had,” she tells The OMNIway. “At one point one of the residents exclaimed, ‘you can tell this is a real Tim Hortons because the lineup is so long!’ ”

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Village Green continues to provide safe outdoor entertainment for residents

‘We are going to cram as much live entertainment in as we can’

Village Green is continuing to offer the Greater Napanee long-term care home’s residents a wide range of top-notch outdoor entertainment in a safe environment.

Country-rock band Picket Fences is the latest outdoor entertainment troupe to perform outside at Village Green.

On Aug. 5 the group played a show for Village Green residents, who were seated at a distance in the home’s garden.

“The residents were super happy to have more entertainment at the home, and we even shared one song via Facebook Live with our friends, families and followers,” Ulana Orrick, Village Green’s life enrichment co-ordinator, tells The OMNIway.

The Picket Fences show was the second live performance at Village Green since restrictions in place due to the global COVID-19 pandemic were eased in June to allow outdoor entertainment.

Keeping in line with safety protocols, residents watch performances while observing social distancing requirements from inside the chain-link fence in the Village Green garden. The bands play from the other side of the fence.

The first outdoor concert for Village Green residents was on June 30, when Breaking Chains performed.

There are more outdoor shows lined up at Village Green.

Another entertainer, Mr. Honky Tonk, will be performing on Sept. 2, and a duet consisting of two residents’ family members will be providing entertainment on Sept. 5.

“We are going to cram as much live entertainment in as we can before the weather makes that impossible for us,” Ulana says.

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Casey, Village Green’s favourite feline, passes away

Casey, a cat who has lived at Village Green for many years, is pictured here with Brianna MacPherson, the daughter of Village Green maintenance manager Brian MacPherson, in this photo taken in 2004.

Administrator Linda Pierce remembers Casey as a valuable member of the home’s palliative care team

Village Green recently lost a special team member who also lived at the Greater Napanee long-term care home for many years. Read more

Village Green celebrates 40 years of serving community

Greater Napanee LTC home lauded at celebration for its family atmosphere and the value its people bring residents and the local region

SELBY, Ont. – Village Green on Sept. 21 hosted a celebration to mark the long-term care home’s 40th anniversary serving residents and the community of Greater Napanee. Read more